Monday, February 25, 2019

Visiting the Grave of Benjamin Barnard Redding (1824-1882), the Man Whom Redding Is Named For

ABOVE: This is the Redding family plot in the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery at Sacramento. All of the photographs are taken by Jeremy M. Tuggle, unless noted otherwise.

On February 22, 2019, my son Carson and I toured the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery at Sacramento and we visited the grave of Benjamin Barnard Redding who was born on January 17, 1824 to Fitz W. Redding and his wife Mary at Yartmouth, Yartmouth County, Nova Scotia, Canada. His family came to California in 1850, Benjamin was interested in mining and he did some mining along the Yuba River. Then in, 1854, Benjamin Barnard Redding became a publisher of the Democratic State Journal. Two years later, Redding was elected as a mayor of Sacramento. He was also the General Land Agent for the Central Pacific Railroad as well, and then he was appointed by Governor Low to be California's Secretary of State. Redding led a public life and he was also active in the State Board of Fish Commissioners for California.

ABOVE: This is the main headstone of Benjamin Barnard Redding in the Redding family plot one of four names etched into this towering headstone. 

ABOVE: This is the main headstone of Mary Prescott (Putnam) Redding wife of Benjamin Barnard Redding.

ABOVE: A secondary headstone belonging to Benjamin Barnard Redding and his wife Mary Prescott (Putnam) Redding.

Benjamin met and married Mary Prescott Putnam, and to this union four children were born to them. The children of Benjamin and Mary are the following: William Redding, J. Albert Redding, George H. Redding, and Joseph D. Redding. Benjamin Barnard Redding died in San Francisco on August 21, 1882 at the age of fifty-eight of apoplexy. He is the man who the town of Redding, California was named for which was established on June 15, 1872 by the California & Oregon Railroad, a division of the Central Pacific Railroad.

ABOVE: The headstone of George H.H. Redding son of Benjamin Barnard Redding.

ABOVE: A Redding family headstone, too faded to read.

ABOVE: A Redding family headstone, too faded to read.

Today, the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery is located at 1000 Broadway Street in Sacramento. It was founded in 1849 by early Sacramento residents. Today, the cemetery has an office which is opened to the public daily from 7 A.M., to 5 P.M., and guided tours are available as well. This historic cemetery includes 17 famous burials including three California State Governors such as: John Bigler, Newton Booth, and William Irwin. Find out more from their website at: Sacramento Historic City Cemetery.

ABOVE: A Redding family headstone, too faded to read.

ABOVE: The main headstone of Fitz William Redding son of F.W. & Mary A. Redding.

ABOVE: L-R: Jeremy M. Tuggle and his son Carson K. Tuggle posing for a photograph at the main headstone of Benjamin Barnard Redding in the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery. This photograph was taken by Cindy L. Nelson.

ABOVE: L-R: Jeremy M. Tuggle and his son Carson K. Tuggle posing for a photograph at a secondary headstone of Benjamin Barnard Redding and his wife Mary Prescott (Putnam) Redding in the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery. This photograph was taken by Cindy L. Nelson.


B.B. REDDING - The Sacramento Daily Union newspaper, of Sacramento, August 22, 1882

DEATH OF B.B. REDDING - The Shasta Courier newspaper, of Shasta, August 26, 1882

Benjamin B. Redding Find A Grave Memorial

Sacramento Historic City Cemetery 

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Tokens of History: Entrepreneurs Ralph Lewis Brown & Henry “Hal” Warren Brown

Tokens of History: Entrepreneurs Ralph Lewis Brown & Henry “Hal” Warren Brown

By Jeremy M. Tuggle & Chet Sunde, Psy.D.

Above: L-R: Brown's Coram Cigars & Tobacco and Ralph Brown, Kennett, Cal., five cents trade tokens. Front of tokens. From the collection of Jeremy M. Tuggle.

Above: L-R: Brown's Coram Cigars & Tobacco and Ralph Brown, Kennett, Cal. five cents trade tokens. Reverse side. From the collection of Jeremy M. Tuggle.

A woman named Flora Potter was first married to a man by the surname of Eldredge, whose given name eludes us, and during this union three children were born to them. However, two of their children died at a young age, and then a third child named Frank Raymond Eldredge, was born to them in Iowa in May of 1867. After this union ended, Flora married a second time to Andrew J. Brown in 1875. After that, she gave birth to Ralph Lewis Brown in California in November of 1875 and on March 7, 1882 in Arizona a second child named Henry Warren Brown was born to her.

The family returned to California in 1900 so Flora could reside near her son Frank who had been a resident of Shasta County since 1896. In 1900, the Brown family was living together in Redding. The 1900 U.S. Census recorded that five children were born to Flora (Potter) Brown and that only three were living by the time the 1900 U.S. Census was enumerated in June of that year.

However, the 1900 U.S. Census recorded that Henry Warren Brown was born in California, a typical mistake; we know for a fact that his true place of birth was Arizona due to additional supporting documents. Throughout his lifetime Henry Warren Brown was known by the nickname of “Hal” it’s unknown how he received this nickname but it stuck with him.

Their father, Andrew J. Brown is noted on the above census at the age of sixty-two, and he was employed as a carpenter. Flora (Potter) Brown was more than likely a common house wife who is recorded at the age of fifty-four, she didn’t have an occupation noted on this census. Their son Ralph is also noted at the age of twenty-four and he was employed as a news reporter.

Ralph was an employee of the Searchlight a local newspaper of Redding. The highest level of education that Ralph completed in school is not known. Henry is noted at the age of eighteen on this census and Henry was employed as a machinist. It’s not known where their children were educated. A later census record revealed that Henry completed elementary school and finished the eighth grade.

Then in 1906, Henry was employed as a clerk in Reuben Hoyle’s cigar and news stand in Redding. In April of that year, Henry Brown was appointed by the Board of Trustees of the Redding School District to enumerate a census of the school children in their school district. The Board of Trustees of the Redding School District felt that Brown was young and energetic enough to complete the job before its deadline between April 15th and April 30th of that year. Henry was excited to accept this paid position while working for Hoyle. 

Above: another undated photograph of Coram. There is an unidentified man sitting on the porch of the building in the foreground reading a newspaper. There is some vegetation in the landscape surrounding this community in the above photograph. Courtesy of Shasta Historical Society.

During May of 1906, the Balaklala Consolidated Copper Mining Company of Boston, Massachusetts, established the town of Coram located beside Cottonwood Creek, just north of Redding. Since the previous June, this company had already selected the site for the new smelter near the new town site. That May, advances on the property were underway as Shasta County’s fifth smelter was in its early stages of development. The contract for the brick work of the Coram smelter was awarded to the Holt & Gregg Company of Redding to produce one million bricks for the construction project.

In addition to that contract, another was let to the Terry Lumber Company who furnished two million feet of lumber during the smelter’s construction. The Bostonian mining company owned the lucrative Balaklala mine who the above mining company named themselves after. Their mine was located five miles away from the smelter site and their ore was eventually hauled to the smelter by an aerial tramway that stretched 16,500 feet. It was noted for its production of copper ore; the mine was located in 1882 by prospector Michael Thea. The town of Coram was named for Joseph A. Coram, a native of Montana, who had major stocks within in the above mining company.

After moving out of his parents’ house in Redding, Ralph Brown decided to settle at Kennett. The first business which Ralph established was located at Kennett where he opened a fruit stand. He borrowed $150 from his friends in Redding to make the investment work. After launching the fruit stand, the entrepreneur profited enough income to pay back his friends with interest. His fruit stand was located inside Victor E. Warrens’ brick building; a two story brick building with a basement, this building also included the famous Diamond Saloon.

Then on the evening of May 15, 1906, Ralph Brown married Flora Henderson in the Methodist Church at Kennett. Their wedding was performed by the Reverend Fay Donaldson. His brother Henry was his groomsman and a Mrs. Gage was Flora’s bridesmaid. At the time of their wedding, Ralph was a substantial business owner at Kennett. His fruit stand inside Warrens’ brick building now included cigars and newspapers. Brown had trade tokens manufactured for his store in Kennett with trade values ranging from five cents to ten cents.

Above: Ralph Brown, Kennett, Cal., ten cents trade token. From the collection of Chet Sunde.

At this time, Henry Brown was living at Redding where he would eventually resign from Hoyle’s cigars and news stand. This is when he wanted to relocate to Coram once Coram lots were available to purchase. Henry's parents remained in Redding, and not much is known about them after this time period. His half-brother, Frank Eldredge relocated south to Red Bluff where he became a licensed pharmacist. Frank had married in Shasta County on August 4, 1897, to Flora Kate Durfor.

Coram lots began selling on Friday, July 13, 1906 by the Balaklala Consolidated Copper Mining Company through their attorneys Sweeney & Tillotson in Redding and through Henry Brown who also represented the mining company. The local media often referred to Henry as Coram’s “first mayor” even though the town wasn’t incorporated yet as a city. It would take four more years for Coram to become incorporated. A few days later, two blocks in the brand new smelter community were sold to unnamed parties. Coram became a ramshackle mining community.

On July 21, 1906 the local media announced the establishment of a new town site called East Coram. The East Coram town site was located on land which was owned by its founder Hiram L. Tripp. Tripp was a resident of Santa Rosa who was employed as their post master. Another man named L.S. Barnes was one of his agents who helped him sell East Coram lots which would soon rival against the Coram town site.

In addition to that announcement, it was learned that East Coram would have a water system installed and it boasted something else that the town of Coram lacked- a newspaper. This new media outlet was published by Willard D. Pratt and it was called the Coram Enterprise. Since Henry Brown was selling Coram lots he was probably not too thrilled to learn about the East Coram town site coming into fruition. However, Henry probably advertised his store in the Coram Enterprise once it was published to gain more business for his store.

The Balaklala Consolidated Copper Mining Company hired many people from many trades such as: miners, pipe fitters, muckers and laborers who were experienced in these fields to start the production of copper ore at the Balaklala mine which yielded lucrative results as the ore bins were filling up waiting to be delivered to the Mammoth smelter at Kennett to be treated, and by June 29th, one hundred men were employed at the Balaklala mine. This mine was located on the western branch of Squaw Creek. By July 20th, a dozen lots in the Coram town site were sold ranging from $100 to $400; it’s possible that Henry was one of the new lot owners because a one-story 24x40 building was nearly completed for him on September 14th.

At a rapid rate Coram was enlarging fast with streets, bridges, and residential houses being constructed. Henry’s 24x40 one-story building was the headquarters for his new business venture- a cigar and tobacco stand. The entrepreneur began to make profits off the local miners. He was self-employed and he named his business Brown’s Cigars and Tobacco. This new business included the Coram post office. Like his brother Ralph, Henry had trade tokens manufactured for his store in the value of five cents in trade. Then on, August 4, 1906, Henry was appointed as the first post master of Coram. It was a position that he held honorably for six years and it kept him busy. 

Evidently, a school and church buildings were constructed for the general public at Coram. One thing that Coram lacked was a practical sewer system and it was Henry who invited local residents to discuss this topic inside his building on the night of March 4, 1907. Henry Brown led the discussion that night. According to one newspaper account it declared the following, “It was practically decided to install a septic tank system and to practically duplicate the piping system that has already been installed by the Balaklala Company’s water system for the town.” A committee was appointed to insure residents that the new sewer system would be installed within the year.

Later that month, Ralph Lewis Brown was elected as a Justice of the Peace for the Kennett Township. Kennett did not have a court house yet so Ralph rented the basement of Warrens’ two-story building to be used as the Kennett court house. He also purchased the necessary furniture that was needed for the court room. There was a calaboose (a jail) that was used by him and the local constable to lock people up who broke the law, charged with minor crimes. For the more serious crimes the calaboose held these inmates until the sheriff was able to transport them to the Shasta County Jail in Redding, then these inmates were tried in the Superior Court. Ralph’s court room kept busy getting rid of rough figures in both Kennett and Coram. A prime example is that one time the Shasta County Jail held fifteen inmates. Two thirds of them were from these communities.

During the interim, the school year at Coram started and on April 19, 1907 the first term of the school year ended. On that day, the town of Coram witnessed a disastrous $2,000 fire that destroyed the newly constructed Jay Burress’ building; a fire brigade was formed by the local residents to extinguish the flames which were threatening other buildings in the area. It was undetermined how the fire began. 

It was Coram’s first fire, and more would become a threat in the future of the town site. Henry Brown’s building survived, which was a major relief to him. Henry Warren Brown was considered as the grand “pooh-bah” of the new smelter town by the local media because he engaged himself into a majority of Coram ‘dealings’. 

During the construction phase of the new smelter, the Balaklala Consolidated Copper Mining Company directed their miners to extract copper from their nearby mine. Ore bins continued filling up with great success and on October 14, 1907, the officials of the mining company above declared that their ore bins were filling up too swiftly. Any additional mining had to be delayed to finish the new smelter. Work on the smelter site was steady. Then on October 21, 1907 the above mining company announced that due to the unstable copper market in the east they had to stop construction on the new smelter.

Later it was determined that the Balaklala Consolidated Copper Mining Company were bankrupt. Funds were completely emptied within the company and many employees were laid off. This affected property sales in Coram offered by their attorney’s Sweeney & Tillotson and Henry Brown.

It also affected property sales in the East Coram town site. The media frenzied over this upset. Due to the closure of the smelter, Henry felt the economy at Coram plunge, as many other people did too. Coram became deserted for the first time that month and so did the rivaling town of East Coram. It’s possible that Henry relocated back to Redding, when Coram became deserted.

While Henry fell into financial difficulties due to Coram's economy plunging, Ralph Brown kept improving his store at Kennett with the best quality merchandise available, aside from fresh fruit, cigars and newspapers. Ralph was now engaged in selling novelty items at his store. Then in December of that year, Ralph held a contest at his store. It’s not known what the customers had to do to achieve the grand prize during the contest, however, the grand prize was a brand new doll and the winner of the contest was Mary Hawkins. Hawkins was a resident of Kennett. Local stores often held contests to help promote their merchandise.

Above: an interior view of the Ralph Brown store at Kennett inside Warrens' brick building, date unknown. Notice the cigars in the display case to the left. Pictured in the photograph is Ralph Lewis Brown. Courtesy of Shasta Historical Society.

Apparently, the U.S. Postal Service headquarters in Washington D.C., allowed Henry Brown to retain his position of post master of Coram. Many people felt that the economy at Coram and East Coram would bounce back but to their dismay the economy failed due to no jobs in the area. The Balaklala Consolidated Copper Mining Company was eventually purchased by a new incorporation called the First National Copper Company. The First National Copper Company was incorporated in Nevada on January 20, 1908, and they became the parent company of the Balaklala Consolidated Copper Mining Company. This new incorporation helped financed the former owner. 

In July, the Balaklala Consolidated Copper Mining Company ordered one hundred and thirty-five car loads of coke for the Balaklala smelter. Coke is a chemical reducing agent which is used to help fuel the smelter. The town of Coram and the town of East Coram were still deserted even though the coke was delivered to the smelter site. With this shipment it indicated to a lot of people that the Balakala smelter would be reopen soon and the new communities would burgeon with success.

Three months later, Coram and East Coram were still deserted town sites. That October, the Balaklala Consolidated Copper Mining Company hired 200 employees to work for them in their mine and at their smelter. These employees helped change the economy of Coram and East Coram as the town sites were rejuvenated with life. Henry Brown and the other prosperous business owners of Coram came back to continue operating their companies.

Property sales of Coram lots at Henry’s store were consistent and they were also consistent at the office of Sweeney and Tillotson in Redding. The completion of the Balaklala smelter took place on October 20, 1908 when copper reduction started for the very first time at the new smelter. The brand new smelter held a daily capacity of one thousand tons of ore per day. Coram and East Coram were up-and-coming communities to live and work in.

Above: the Balaklala Smelter at Coram, Shasta County, California. There is some vegetation in the landscape surrounding the smelter in this picture. Dense smoke covers the sky from the toxic fumes released into the air by this smelter. Courtesy of the Shasta Historical Society.

Turmoil aroused local farmers to clash with the smelting companies in Shasta County, in 1909, when they discovered that their crops and the nearby vegetation surrounding them were dying due to polluted air. The poor air quality contained deadly toxins that fumed from the local smelters. Due to their findings, local farmers organized the Shasta County Farmers’ Protective Association, a group from Redding, which elected Girvan resident McCoy Fitzgerald as their president. 

Many negotiations were held around the county with these smelting companies. This is important to mention because Henry was one of the few Coram business men who negotiated talks with the above group at a later date to help save the Balaklala smelter. Some of the other targeted smelters were the Mammoth smelter at Kennett, the Mountain Copper Mining Company smelter at Keswick, the Bully Hill smelter at Delamar, and the Afterthought smelter at Ingot. Not in Shasta County, but in other parts of the state farmers were winning law suits against smelting companies in the Superior Court and this concerned the officials of the First National Copper Company. Work at the Balaklala smelter continued with copper treatment even with the continued threats of a possible closure.

Then on, April 5, 1910 the town of Coram became incorporated as a city. The town of East Coram was now annexed into the City of Coram as well. The April 6, 1910 edition of the Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding heralded that Coram was now a sixth class city which won its incorporation in a vote of sixty to twenty-eight. The above newspaper article reported that the City Trustees were W.E. DeWitt, William A. Maguire, Arthur H. Fogarty, George O’ Grady and Claud D. Morton. The City Marshal was George Thomas, and another man named N.E. Kinyon was the City Clerk. The post master of the new City of Coram was Henry Brown. Henry become very instrumental in helping establish the new city. The City of Coram celebrated its incorporation that week.

Above: the Balaklala Supply Company at Coram manufactured this five cents trade token. From the collection of Chet Sunde.

In 1910, Henry Brown was living in the Keswick Township according to the 1910 U.S. Census. This census noted that he was employed as the postmaster for the town of Coram while he commuted to work every day from Keswick. He was listed at the age of twenty-eight. The one thing this record failed to mention is that he still operated his cigar and tobacco store at Coram. 

Ralph and his wife lived at Delta, in Shasta County, according to the above census when it was enumerated for their district on April 16, 1910. Ralph was noted as the local justice of the peace for the Delta Township on this census as well. Due to Flora (Henderson) Brown’s health declining, Ralph and his wife, relocated south from Delta to Oakland in Alameda County, and settled there.

Together they kept in close contact with their friends and family in Shasta and Tehama County by mail and they made frequent visits to the north state. Apparently, the move was what Flora needed to get healthier. It’s not known what her main health complications were. 

Ralph Brown was hired by the Fuller & Todd Company of Oakland to be their secretary. The above census also recorded that the City of Coram had an impressive population of seven hundred people at that time.

Their half-brother, Frank Eldredge was still married to his wife Flora, and they had a son by the name of Bernard who was noted at the age of five. Frank was still employed as a licensed pharmacist in Red Bluff where his family was living according to the 1910 U.S. Census. Frank was the only one of his siblings to have children.

Henry Brown was one of the business men in the City of Coram who favored the Cottrell process. Henry became a member of the committee of Coram delegates who believed that this process would solve the smoke problem for the Balaklala smelter. The Cottrell process was tested in the Balaklala smelter in February of 1911 with only one furnace operating. 

The Cottrell process was favored by these delegates because it removed the fumes from the smelting operation. The group had traveled from Coram to Anderson where they planned to meet with McCoy Fitzgerald and the Shasta County Farmers’ Protective Association on February 4th, but they were turned away by Fitzgerald. The main reason the Coram delegates were turned away by Fitzgerald is that the notice his group issued regarding the smelter smoke problems were not open to the general public. The meeting was only opened to people who had official business with the mining companies they listed on the notice. Eventually, the Coram delegates tried to arrange future meetings with the Shasta County Farmers’ Protective Association but they were unsuccessful in obtaining a meeting with them, and Henry Brown would not give up hope for the smelter’s future.

As a result of the Cottrell process failing, the smelting and mining operations at the Balalklala smelter were shut down on the morning of July 22, 1911. Eventually, the closing of the smelter would soon have a major impact on the economy of the City of Coram, which continued to operate. On August 3, 1911, it was reported by the local media that the city government of Coram was still active, yet activities in and around the city were very dull. The City of Coram’s treasury department operated with an extremely low budget even though they still had funds to use for spending if it was needed.

Brown’s Cigar and Tobacco store which included the Coram post office was still in business as well. By mid-August the City of Coram was deserted again. The only activities pursued by the Balaklala Consolidated Copper Mining Company pertained to their little saw mill near their mine. A very small crew of men was kept on the payroll to operate the mill. 

Ralph Brown returned to Redding on August 25, 1911, he had spent a year working as a secretary for the Fuller & Todd Company in Oakland undertaking real estate sales. Ralph Brown was quoted by the Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding by saying, “Business has been good… but I have sold out to an advantage.” He had sold out his shares of stock within that business yet it wasn’t clear what he wanted to do next in his life.

This was the second time the Balaklala smelter closed and the U.S. Postal Service headquarters in Washington D.C., wouldn’t allow Henry Brown to retain his position as post master of Coram. The following excerpt was taken from an article in the Sacramento Daily Union newspaper on October 12, 1911, about the Coram post office which Henry had charge of: “By order of the post office department, the office at Coram, Shasta county, will be discontinued October 31.” 

Henry returned to Keswick where he lived after the Coram post office was discontinued. During the following year, there were many attempts made by the Balaklala Consolidated Copper Mining Company to reopen their smelter. The City of Coram continued with its ghostly appearance. All that was left were the buildings which were completely intact.

Above: the Southern Pacific Depot at Coram in 1912. Check out the denuded landscape from the toxic fumes of the Balaklala smelter. Courtesy of Shasta Historical Society.

Apparently, the U.S. Postal Service headquarters in Washington D.C., reinstated the Coram post office because a man named George S. Bolles succeeded Henry Brown as the post master on March 21, 1912; evidently Coram retained a small population of people that met the regulations of the U.S. Postal Service. Brown may have continued to make a profit with his cigar and tobacco shop with the returning residents and may have allowed the new postmaster to use his building for the post office or it’s possible that he sold out to Bolles as well; we don’t know what exactly happened. With the smelter closed, the Balaklala Consolidated Copper Mining Company took an immense interest in their copper mine in 1914 as they began hire people and recommence the production of copper. This gave the City of Coram a revived energy and new businesses took over in the city.

During that period the copper ore was transferred out of the area to be treated. A search through the records and microfilm at Shasta Historical Society became exhausting to determine the initial outcome of Henry Brown’s Cigar & Tobacco store at Coram. It’s not known, when Brown relocated from Keswick. Probably between, 1914 and 1915, since very little is printed about him in the local media.

During 1918, the City of Coram became unincorporated as a city. After that, additional mining activities in the area slowed down while residents began to abandon the town. Eventually, the town of Coram became deserted again when the Balaklala Consolidated Copper Mining Company closed the Balaklala mine during May of 1919.

Henry Brown was then living at Concord, in Contra Costa County, with his wife Nora Eleanor (Knapp) Brown. Together they rented a house in that town and he had accepted a job as a fireman with the Associated Oil Company of Concord. The 1920 U.S. Census records him being employed as a treater in the oil works industry; it’s possible that he was still employed by the above company, while his wife’s occupation was not noted. Nora was recorded at the age of thirty.

Ralph and wife were documented as living at San Francisco according to the above census record. Yet, the census for their district is badly faded and is very hard to read. It’s not clear what Ralph Brown’s occupation was at that time. 

Their half-brother Frank continued living at Red Bluff with his wife Flora and their two children, Bernard and Majorie. Then on, May 19, 1921, Frank Raymond Eldredge died at Red Bluff. He was fifty-four years of age, and he was buried at Oakland, Alameda County, in the Chapel of the Chimes Columbarium and Mausoleum Cemetery. His funeral was well attended by his friends and family. Frank was survived by his wife Flora (Durfor) Brown and his two children, Bernard and Marjorie.

Then on, July 21, 1928, heart problems caused the death of Ralph Lewis Brown who died suddenly when he was on vacation at the Twain-Harte Lodge in the Sierra’s (Tuolumne County, California). Ralph died at the age of fifty-two. Before his death, Ralph had been a well-known cigar merchant and he owned a cigar store on Third Street at San Francisco. He was a partner in the San Francisco law firm of Hatter & Brown.

After his short interest in the real estate business, Ralph Brown entered a law school in San Francisco, where he graduated. Then he took the California state bar exam and passed it to become an attorney-at-law. The last time Ralph Brown visited Redding was three weeks prior to his death when he and some friends chartered a private plane to Redding. It’s unknown to us when his wife, Flora (Henderson) Brown died, but she did survive her husband. There were no children born to this union.

During 1930, Henry and Nora were living in Suisun City, in Solano County where Henry was engaged in running his own stationary shop. He is listed in the 1930 U.S. Census as a retail merchant. Once again they rented their own residence. Nora was more than likely a house-wife though the above record doesn’t record her occupation. They are living in the same place in 1935 according to the 1940 U.S. Census which also indicates they were residing in the same place again.

Henry was the owner of his own stationary store and his wife Nora assisted in a stationary store as well. More than likely is was her husband’s store that he owned and operated. Henry "Hal" Warren Brown died in Solano County at the age of fifty-nine on February 13 1942, his wife Nora survived him by another eight years and she died on July 2, 1950 in Alameda County.

Above: this undated photograph of Coram showcases the Culver hotel & the Smelter House Beer & Restaurant in the center of town. The landscape is denuded due to the Balaklala Smelter's toxic fumes which were released into the air. Courtesy of Shasta Historical Society.


1896 Voter’s Registration, Shasta County, California

1900 U.S. Census

BALAKLALA OFFICES WILL BE LOCATED IN DEPOT HOTEL – April 28, 1906, The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding.

HAL BROWN TO TAKE CENSUS – April 2, 1906, The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding.

HOLT & GREGG GET CONTRACT FOR 1,000,000 BRICK – May 3, 1906, The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding.

BALAKLALA CONTRACTS FOR MUCH LUMBER – May 14, 1906, The Courier- Free Press newspaper of Redding.
RALPH BROWN IS A MARRIED MAN – May 16, 1906, The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding.

100 MEN WORKING AT BALAKLALA – June 29, 1906, The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding.

HAL BROWN, THE MAYOR - July 13, 1906, The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding. 

CORAM LOTS – July 13, 1906, The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding.

CORAM LOTS SELLING – July 13, 1906, The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding.

NEW TOWN OF CORAM GROWING RAPIDLY – July 20, 1906, The Sacramento Union newspaper.

RALPH BROWN – July 21, 1906, The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding.

EAST CORAM WILL HAVE WATER WORKS - July 21, 1906, The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding. 

HAL BROWN, THE POOH BAH OF CORAM – August 10, 1906, The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding.

HAL BROWN HAS POSTMASTER’S COMMISSION – September 1, 1906, The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding.
CORAM GROWS RAPIDLY – September 15, 1906, The Sacramento Union newspaper.

TWO JUSTICES WHO KNOW THEIR BUSINESS – January 26, 1907, The Sacramento Union newspaper. 

CORAM WANTS SEWER SYSTEM – March 4, 1907, The Courier-Free Press newspaper.

KENNETT COURT IN WARRENS BUILDING - March 24, 1907, The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding.

CORAM NEWS NOTES – April 19, 1907, The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding.

THE SMELTER TOWN OF CORAM HAS FIRST FIRE, April 19, 1907 – The Courier-Free Press of Redding.

BALAKLALA MINE WORK TOO SWIFT FOR THE SMELTER – October 14, 1907 – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding.

CONSTRUCTION WORK STOPPED – October 21, 1907, The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding.

MARY HAWKINS – December 27, 1907, The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding.

Mines and Minerals Volume XXVIII, August 1907 to July 1908, Scranton, Pennsylvania – International Textbook Company ©1908, pages 411-419.

The Copper Handbook A Manual of the Copper Industry of the World Volume: VIII – Compiled and published by Horace J. Stevens, Houghton, Mich. ©1908, pages 349-351.

McCOY FITZGERALD – July 8, 1908 – The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding.

135 CAR-LOADS OF COKE FOR CORAM – July 23, 1908, The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding.

THE CORAM SMELTER BLOWS IN SOON – October 15, 1908, The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding.

1910 U.S. Census

1910 Shasta County Directory

CORAM DELEGATION GOES TO ANDERSON – February 4, 1911, The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding 

$1,000,000 SMELTER MUST SHUT DOWN – June 21, 1911, The San Francisco Call newspaper.

CORAM SMELTER SHUT DOWN AT 8:45 TODAY – July 22, 1911, The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding.

CITY GOVERNMENT OF STILL LIVES – August 3, 1911, The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding.

RALPH BROWN, OLD-TIME REDDING NEWSPAPERMAN – August 25, 1911, The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding.

WILL CLOSE POST OFFICE AT CORAM – October 12, 1911, The Sacramento Daily Union newspaper

Moody’s Manual of Railroads and Corporation Securites, Volume II, Seventeenth Annual Number, ©1916 by Moody Manual Company of New York. Pages page 2616. (First National Copper Company Incorporation, purchase, finance.)

RALPH BROWN – August 12, 1919, The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding.

1920 U.S. Census

RALPH BROWN PASSES SUDDENLY IN SIERRAS – July 23, 1928, The Courier-Free Press newspaper of Redding.

1930 U.S. Census

U.S., Appointments of U. S. Postmasters, 1832-1971, available on microfilm in the archives of Shasta Historical Society.

1940 U.S. Census

Henry Warren Brown in the California, Death Index, 1940-1997, available on

Place Names of Shasta County by Gertrude A. Steger revision by Helen Hinckley Jones, ©1966 by La Siesta Press, Glendale, California, page 26.

Mines and Mineral Resources of Shasta County, California – County Report 6 – by Philip A. Lydon and J.C. O’ Brien ©1974 by California Division of Mines and Geology, pages 1-178.

COUNTY WILL SELL TOWN FOR TAXES – November 13, 1976 – Redding Record Searchlight newspaper of Redding. (mine 5 miles away from smelter, aerial tramway.)

CORAM, a Flag Stop on the Southern Pacific – The Covered Wagon 1981, Written by Genev Vickers Roberts. Published by Shasta Historical Society. Pages 24-32.

HISTORICAL SOCIETY TO PRESENT ‘THE RISE AND FALL OF CORAM’ – February 13, 2016 – Record Searchlight newspaper, written by Michael Kuker.

Shasta County, California Marriages, 1852-1904, published by Shasta Genealogical Society. (Eldredge marriage.)

On This Date… (Ralph Brown) – December 16, 2000, The Record Searchlight newspaper of Redding.

Murder of a Landscape, The California-Farmer Smelter War 1897-1916 by Khaled J. Bloom ©2010 Published by the University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Publishing Division of the University.

Kennett Constable Assaulted – The Covered Wagon 2018, written by Jeremy M. Tuggle. Published by Shasta Historical Society. Pages 77-86.

Frank R Eldredge in the California, Death Index, 1905-1939, available on

U.S. Find A Grave: Frank Raymond Eldredge, available at:

Friday, January 11, 2019


Believe it or not, this location at 2146 Pine Street in between Market and Pine Street in Redding was home to Redding's first cemetery. It's on the flatter surface of this knoll. This photograph was taken by Jeremy Tuggle on December 12, 2018.

Redding was established by the California & Oregon Railroad, a division of the Central Pacific Railroad, on June 15, 1872. Once the construction of the railroad resumed north from Anderson, the railroad company decided to bypass this burial ground, and make its way north to Poverty Flats where the construction stopped that year. This cemetery was now on the outskirts of the brand new town at the southern end. 

The first streets in town which were laid out by the railroad company was North, South East and West Streets followed by the nearby counties Placer, Tehama, Butte, and Yuba Streets. While Redding grew larger with additional streets and the development of Pine and Market Streets it brought more commercial businesses and private residences to town. The town grew into a flourishing city and this cemetery became an oft-forgotten location. It's a site of historical importance because it was Redding's first cemetery which a lot of people tend to over-look in Redding's early history. Over the years, the cemetery has been called the Redding Abandoned Cemetery. Today, the site is the former home of Biggins Lighting who just recently relocated to Larkspur Lane in Redding.

Since the cemetery's establishment in 1867, this piece of land became the final resting place of some of our counties early pioneer settlers for nearly thirty-nine years when it became abandoned and then rediscovered in 1906. At Shasta Historical Society, there are volumes of interment records for Shasta County cemeteries and among these are the records for this cemetery. It was Samuel Dinsmore, a young man, who died on April 24, 1867, at Dinsmore's ranch due to consumption at the age of twenty-five and he became the first interment into this newly established cemetery. Samuel Dinsmore was the eldest of four children born to John W. Dinsmore and Arabella (MacGlashon) Woodrum-Dinsmore. 

Together, the John W. Disnmore family arrived in Shasta County in 1852, and they settled at Shingletown. John W. Dinsmore was a millwright who is noted with erecting the Dry mill at Shingletown in 1853, with his partner Merriman Ferrel, a brother to his future son-in-law. Then in 1857, John W. Dinsmore purchased land from Major Pierson B. Reading, this land was part of the Rancho Buena Ventura land grant. According to Shasta County historian Madge R. Walsh, "Dinsmore located his home, the Four Mile House, about four and a half miles east of Shasta, on the west side of the stage road where it divided to go east to Green's Ferry, or south to Tehama via Canyon House. He had built his house before paying for the property, as it was already extant when the deed was recorded. Today, the site is about a quarter mile west of the junction of Highway 299 W and Ridge Drive.

The headstone of Samuel Dinsmore whose remains were re-interred into the Redding Cemetery (now Redding Memorial Park). His name is misspelled as Samnel. He is buried next to his sister Angeline (Dinsmore) Ferrel (whose surname is misspelled as Ferrell. Ferrel is the correct spelling. There are no dates on this headstone. This photograph was taken by Jeremy Tuggle August 28, 2014.

Later that year, Arabella Ferrel, a niece of Samuel Dinsmore, and a daughter of Henry Clay Ferrel and Angelina (Dinsmore) Ferrel died at Balls Ferry, at the age of eleven from congestive chills on July 27, 1867. Henry Clay Ferrel is my paternal great-great-great uncle, and his daughter became the second interment at this former cemetery. Henry C. Ferrel, was a native of Ohio, and he arrived in Shasta County in 1853. He was married in 1854 to Angelina Dinsmore. In 1860, they were living at Shasta, Henry C. Ferrel was a miner by trade.

This is the headstone of Arabella Ferrel, a daughter of Henry Clay Ferrel and Angelina (Dinsmore) Ferrel who was re-interred at the Redding Cemetery (now Redding Memorial Park). The Ferrel surname is spelled correctly here. THIS IS NOT THE FIRST BURIAL IN REDDING MEMORIAL PARK.  Note: Redding Memorial Park was established in the 1890s. This photograph was taken by Jeremy Tuggle on August 28, 2014

The death notice of Joseph W. Brackett who died March 27, 1875 at Redding, he was a local lawyer. He was a son of Joseph Warren Brackett and Lydia (Miller) Brackett. His funeral was conducted under the supervision of the Masonic fraternity, of which he was a member. He was survived by his wife and a large family to mourn his loss. Taken from the Shasta Courier newspaper, Saturday, April 3, 1875.

The following is a confirmed listing of burials which took place between the years 1875 and 1877 and all of them were re-interred into the Redding Cemetery (now Redding Memorial Park);

Joseph W. Brackett died March 27, 1875
Emory Farhner died March 20, 1876
Ethol F. Wood died February 15, 1877
Annie Guilbert died July 20, 1877  (has no death notice, nor headstone.)

Six years after the turn of the 20th Century on February 13, 1906, the Redding Water Company rediscovered parts of the original cemetery when they were lowering the manes in that section of Redding. The majority of these burials above were re-interred into the Redding Cemetery (now Redding Memorial Park), that year. It was heralded across the state as a gruesome discovery, as their employees were finding the original coffins which were still intact and the headstones.

The local media claimed there were seven burials which had been unearthed, and only six of those seven burials are named in the cemetery records at the historical society. So who was the seventh burial? More research may uncover the answer to that question while it remains a mystery.

It’s possible that there might be additional burials at the former site of the Redding Abandoned Cemetery, only ground penetrating radar could tell us if there are any anomaly’s underground that shouldn’t be there today. It’s not clear if they recovered all of the burials because some references give this cemetery a much larger perimeter. It’s definitely, a location of historical interest that doesn’t get a lot of exploration, the next time you drive-by this former cemetery take a look as you're passing 2146 Pine Street.

The death notice of Emory Farhner, son of John Farhner, who died due to drowning in a small creek which ran through Redding and near the railroad tracks. Taken from the Shasta Courier newspaper on Saturday, March 25, 1876. 

The headstone of Ethel Florence Wood a daughter of William A. Wood and Mattie Wood. This photograph was taken by Jeremy Tuggle on August 28, 2014.


Death Notice - Samuel Dinsmore - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, April 27, 1867 

Death Notice - Arabella Ferrell - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, August 3, 1867

Death Notice - Joseph W. Brackett - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, April 3, 1875

Death Notice - Ethel Florence Wood - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, February 24, 1877

Ditch Men Make Grewsome Finds - The Press newspaper of Redding, February 13, 1906.

Finds Coffins And Headstones In The Streets Of Redding - The San Francisco Call newspaper of San Francisco, February 14, 1906

Shasta Historical Society Cemetery Records (Small Cemeteries) - Redding Abandoned Cemetery, page 299, available in the archives of Shasta Historical Society.
Shasta County Cemteries compiled by Ronald Joliff

DP-015 Dinsmore, John W. Pioneer Plaque file available on file at the Shasta Historical Society in Redding

The Dinsmore Family by Madge R. Walsh

Selected sawmills of the Shingletown area by Jeremy M. Tuggle, Record Searchlight newspaper of Redding, February 4, 2017.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018


Above: a cabin at Lower Springs. This photograph was taken in 1900. Courtesy of Shasta Historical Society.

After the first two gold discoveries in California were confirmed to be true, scores of people descended into California from around the world, and onto the Rancho Buena Ventura in 1849. As Gold Rush pandemonium struck this region and populated places near it, the forty-niners began pitching up their tents at a rapid pace. These people made their camp sites about two miles southeast of Reading Springs. After that, they began to prospect the nearby creek channels to stake out their placer mining claims. Not everyone was successful at mining. 

At this location, a tent community called Lower Springs was established by these forty-niners, that year. Lower Springs became one of the original gold rush communities of Shasta County. This new tent community was named Lower Springs because its name derived from the nearby community of Reading Springs. Later on, the name of Reading Springs was changed to Shasta on June 8, 1850, and the community of Lower Springs kept its name.

A man by the name of Benjamin Swasey was among the first settlers of this flourishing mining community. He was a native of New Hampshire and he arrived in Shasta County in 1849. After his arrival, the Lower Springs mining district formed its boundaries in the area. Some people made their fortune while others weren't as lucky, yet these miners kept locating new placer mines in this mining district. During the summer months, the Lower Springs mining district became dry diggings with the lack of rain, and water resources were unavailable for miners to use in their placer mines at that time.

Eventually, the rain fell and restored the water in the creek channels every year, as early as fall or as late as winter, however; summer rain storms were known to happen.  It was Swasey who purportedly owned some land near Lower Springs at Gold Gulch. Gold Gulch was a tributary of Salt Creek which reportedly yielded him, $1,500 to the cubic yard in gold. Salt Creek was another stream which channeled near Lower Springs.

In 1850, the first wooden home structure was erected at Lower Springs, and soon after, other homes were completed with additional bungalows and cabins. Lower Springs had a thriving population during its hey-day, the exact number of settlers weren't recorded. However, Lower Springs' population fueled this flourishing community to be a contender for the county seat of Shasta County, along with Horsetown and Shasta, in the running on the ballot at the local primary election in 1851. This is when the county seat was removed from the Reading Adobe at Cottonwood to Shasta.

Then on, March 6, 1851 the town of Shasta became the second county seat of Shasta County. The original location of Lower Springs was on the stage road which routed rigs from Canon House (Canyon House) to Shasta. The current site is located a quarter-mile west of the junction of Highway 299 and Ridge Drive.

The burgeoning community of Lower Springs was prone to Indian attack's, and the Indians raided many cabins in the area at that time, taking with them all of the supplies and provisions the early settlers owned. Then on, April 17, 1851, a man by the name of Merady Swan, a native of Missouri, was murdered by Indians in this community. The following article is from the Sacramento Transcript newspaper of Sacramento:

"Killed By Indians - A man named Merady Swan formerly of Missouri, was shot in his cabin at Lower Springs, two miles this side of Shasta City, one night last week. The Indians slipped up to his cabin at night and shot him through a crack in the door, while he was sitting at the table. Several other persons were in the house, which prevented them from robbing it." (SIC)

In May of 1852, the miners of this mining district were averaging five dollars to the pan per day on Salt Creek. A new settler to the area by the name of Jonathon F. Gage, a native of New Hampshire, erected a log style house there. Gage was married to Alice Jane Swasey a sister of Benjamin Swasey. Jonathon’s profession was farming but he also tried his hand at mining. Together they raised a large family, and then in 1866 they relocated from Lower Springs to Middletown, this is where Gage registered to vote that year.

In 1853, Benjamin Swasey filed a land claim at Shasta, for one hundred and sixty acres of land at Lower Springs, and then he erected a house on this property for him to live in. He also erected two additional buildings at Lower Springs for his businesses. Swasey became the proprietor of the Swasey hotel and the Swasey mercantile store. The hotel included a large barn and a corral with a natural spring of water. Hay and barley were also stocked in the hotel's barn. His business prospered as Swasey advertised in the Shasta Courier newspaper from Shasta. 

Above: an advertisement for Swasey's hotel at Lower Springs, the ad above is from the Saturday, January 21, 1854 edition of the Shasta Courier newspaper.

Above: this is an upper torso photograph of an elderly, Benjamin Swasey. Benjamin was born on January 31, 1822 in New Hampshire and he died in Oakland, Alameda County, California on September 19, 1912, at the age of ninety. He is buried at Redding in the Redding Memorial Park. He was married twice, first to Nellie Dalton, and second to, Emily Marshall. Then in 1861, Swasey became a photographer and relocated to San Francisco. This image was taken circa 1880s at Vance's Gallery in San Francisco. Courtesy of Shasta Historical Society.

Aside from the businesses owned by Benjamin Swasey, this community also included a boarding house called the Virginia House and a blacksmith shop which was owned and operated by Henry Jones. Jones was a native of Ohio, and he was married to his wife, Emily. There was at least one son produced during this union which they named James Jones. At a later date, Henry Jones changed his profession to become a gunsmith.

Then on, Saturday, April 2, 1853, the Shasta Courier newspaper reported the following information in the forthcoming article:

"DIGGINGS ABOUT LOWER SPRINGS - We have heard of remarkably good wages being made within the past few days in these diggings, and what is more, we know it to be true. Dr. Dunlap, in digging a cellar under his house, took the trouble to prospect the dirt, and found it paid upwards of two cents to the pan from the surface to the bed rock. This ground of course would pay fine wages for sluicing, if water was to be had." (SIC)

Later that month, additional excitement occurred at the placer mines on the hillside above the Virginia House, which yielded lucrative results to local miners. Miners also crossed the main stage road to the land opposite of the boarding house and they made the most gratifying success there. There were many delightful parties were held at the Swasey house where people danced the night away and during each ball a supper was prepared by Swasey’s wife, Nellie, to serve the guests. Anyone was welcome to join them and it was a great way for the lonely miners of the area to interact with the beautiful and single ladies.

The following year, the miners of the area were extremely harsh on the Chinese immigrants in the Lower Springs mining district, and at that time, they voted to ban all Chinese immigrants, and then, they forced them to turnover their mining properties to the miners of the area which were not of that race, and the "white miner" weren't the only race to enforce this policy. Hong Kong, near Shasta was closest Chinatown to Lower Springs, which was located two miles away. There were quite a number of anti-Chinese mining districts in Shasta County. Lower Springs wasn't the only mining district to evict the Chinese.

Above: This undated surveyed map shows the boundaries of the Lower Springs mining district and some of the mines included. Please note the name: the Old Spanish Mining Co., of course other mines and companies are noted on it as well. 

In the fall of 1854, a brand new trading post was established at Lower Springs by J.D. Dunlap & Company, and they began advertising their general merchandise store in the local media. Two months later, in December of that year, the first rain eventually fell, and miners had an abundance of water to use. The miners started washing their placer mines and they were making one hundred dollars per day by rocker at that time.

Above: an advertisement for J.D. Dunlap & Company at Lower Springs. This ad is from the Saturday, October 21, 1854 edition of the Shasta Courier newspaper.

The construction of the Clear Creek Ditch, sometimes referred to as the Clear Creek Canal, began in December of 1853. Local miners raised the money to back this large project to convey the water of Clear Creek into the nearby dry diggings of Briggsville, Horsetown, Lower Springs, Muletown, Shasta and Whiskeytown. The ditch connected with a large reservoir which was built as a major part of this project.

Local miners celebrated the ditches completion on November 24, 1855. The length of this ditch measured at sixty miles. The reservoir at Middletown covered fifteen acres to a depth of eight feet. Immediately, the water from this ditch began conveying water into the Lower Springs mining district at Salt Creek. The miners at Lower Springs now had an abundance of water to use in their mining claims.

There wasn't much of a ruckus at Lower Springs between the years 1856 and 1857; however, this community managed to stay relevant. The miners in the area focused on their placer mines, and local businesses advertised their companies in the local media. However, in July of 1857, Swasey’s hotel was still owned by Benjamin Swasey, but it was now under new management. A man by the name of Willam H. Bond was hired by Swasey to manage the hotel for him. Swasey still ran his mercantile store but his extra time was focused on being the public administrator of Shasta County, which is part of the reason he couldn’t manage both the mercantile store and the hotel by himself.

Above: an advertisement for the Administrator's Sale of Real Estate for the estate of T.B. Pritchett, deceased. This estate sale was held on Main Street at Texas Springs, in Shasta County, by Benjamin Swasey, Public Administrator on August 22, 1857. The above ad is from the Saturday, August 8, 1857 edition of the Shasta Courier newspaper.

Two years later, on February 19, 1859, the Shasta Courier newspaper heralded the following article:

Pottery - The manufacture of pottery has been fairly commenced by Messrs., Bly & Co., at Lower Springs. It is the first manufactory of the kind that we have heard of being established in the Northern part of the State. The first kiln was burned a few days ago. It was entirely successful and the ware is of excellent quality. We have been presented with a large pitcher from this first kiln and we value it highly. It argued well for California to witness the commencement of manufacturing establishments throughout the State - however, humble they may be in their inception. We wish Messrs., Bly and Co., an abundant reward in the pursuit of their laudible enterprise.” (SIC) 

Apparently, the above article by the Shasta Courier newspaper conflicts with previous statements by local historians who claimed that, a man by the surname of Tozure, had owned and operated the first pottery shop at Lower Springs. There's no information to suggest that Tozure was employed by Bly and Company, or that Tozure had become Bly and Company’s successor at Lower Springs. There might have been two different pottery shops at different era's in this community, in operation, because the above article suggest otherwise.

This quiet burg was interrupted one day, in January of 1863, by an affray started by Lawrence O' Connell who assaulted William Thompson over a bottle of strychnine whiskey. This is one incident that the local media frenzied over. It was Thompson who was severely beaten by O’ Connell that day, and after the violent dispute, O'Connell immediately departed Lower Springs for Latona. Thompson traveled to Shasta where he pressed charges of assault against his assailant at the Sheriff’s office. O’Connell was later arrested at Latona by Sheriff John S. Follansbee, and then, Follansbee escorted him to Shasta where he was jailed.

In June of 1863, Jones & Company struck a fine ledge of gold particles on their mining property at Lower Springs. They believed that this ore would carry a high value at the assayers office and it won them quite a bit of praise in the local media. The ledge was measured at twenty-two feet wide, immediately, Henry Jones and his crew sunk a shaft down twenty feet below the surface of the earth. 

As they continued to lower the shaft, the ore they sought after revealed better quality. This discovery brought a boom to the community of Lower Springs, and it became one of the first quartz mines in the Lower Springs mining district. Everything until then had been placer mining, in that area, Jones & Company would soon develop the property further with tunnels, drifts and upraises. Its believed that this former placer mine became the quartz mine known as the Old Spanish Mine.

After this quartz mine was dug out, a number of placer mining properties in the Lower Springs mining district were transformed by miners into quartz mines. In November of 1864, Henry Jones who was one of Lower Springs leading citizens was elected as Supervisor of District 1 of Shasta County, the local media referred to Jones as being “eminently qualified for the position”. That month, a number of large quantity of rocks from the Old Spanish Mine at Lower Springs was hauled to the Spring Creek stamp mill on Spring Creek to be crushed so they can obtain the gold from the quartz rocks.

Then on, Saturday, March 4, 1865, the Shasta Courier heralded the following account of a recent discovery made by Henry Jones: 

A SWEET DISCOVERY - Last week Mr. Jones, of Lower Springs observes s large number of honey bees working upon the willows in that vicinity, and being quite an expert apiarist, he noticed that in leaving the willows they generally flew in the same direction, and by taking observations from some willows in the vicinity of Mr. Wiser’s garden he saw that the course taken by the bees from the two points converged upon a hill about a half mile from Lower Springs, and upon going to the place, he found the bees occupying a log upon the hill. The log was opened and forty pounds of excellent honey taken therefrom and sufficient left for the bees, which Mr. Jones has taken to his house.” (SIC)

A man named Bert Wiser partnered with a another man by the surname of Terry and together they established an excellent vineyard at Lower Springs. Wiser & Terry were well-known purveyors of wine which became a locally renown favorite of the era. Their wine was bottled at their Lower Springs vineyard and then transported to Wiser’s home at Buckeye, in Shasta County. He lived on the Buckeye Ranch where Wiser & Terry kept a rather large cellar that they stored their wine in. Their wine was labeled as Wiser & Terry, Lower Springs, California.

Another serious affray occurred in this community on March 15, 1865, when a shooting of a Chinaman transpired over an apparent purchase of a mining claim and water ditch. The German settler who apparently sold the property to the Chinaman denied the fact that he had sold him the land. Then the German claimed that he didn't realize the area was an anti-Chinese district. After they quarreled- the German shot the Chinaman in the arm and the feud was settled according to reports, but both parties lived, and no one was arrested.

On September 9, 1865, the local media reported the following; 

"We are advised that there are fair prospects for the erection of a small mill at Lower Springs, this fall. - The good work goes on, and if the people will but prospect, the future of Shasta is assured." (SIC) 

The above quote by the Shasta Courier newspaper is referring to a brand new stamp mill to help crush the rock to obtain the ore from the samples they retrieved. The mining company to establish this new stamp mill at Lower Springs was the Union Company who hired a man by the name of L.A. Kelly to be their superintendent at the stamp mill and supervise their daily operations here. The Union Company's stamp mill wasn't in operation until mid-December. It's not known how many stamps this crusher had.

Between the years 1866 and 1870, there were newer quartz mines which were located in the Lower Springs mining district. The quartz rock from these mines were hauled to the Union Company's stamp mill or the Spring Creek stamp mill. The ore from these mines were assayed at high value, and due to this mining boom these lucrative quartz mines brought new settlers to the area. The Union Company actually began to dig and blast through surface rock to make their own quartz mine at their stamp mill property to prospect.

While the decade of the 1870s and 1880s evolved around the mining district at Lower Springs, the (old) gold mining burg flourished once again as work continued in number of mines in the area. One quartz mine in particular is the Old Spanish Mine, which is located in the Lower Springs mining district. Throughout history, this mining burg never established a post office, and it continued to be prominent into the 1890s, and past the turn of the 20th century. Today, Lower Springs Road retains the name of this once thriving gold rush community and present day Swasey Drive was named after forty-niner, Benjamin Swasey.

Above: In January of 1905, this plat map of the Telluride Consolidated Mine was surveyed by Alfred Baltzell, an U.S. Deputy Mineral Surveyor, for its owners Charles Piftschek, and Anton Herzlieb, of Redding. The Telluride Consolidated Mine embraced the Tellurium Quartz Mine, Diagonal Quartz Mining Claim, and the Hill Gravel and Quartz Mining Claim. All of these were located on the property of Piftschek and Herzlieb.

Legend has it that these iconic palm tree's were planted by pioneer, Benjamin Swasey at Lower Springs, and they grew in front of his Swasey hotel. The palm tree's lasted until the decade of the 1970s when the area was developed and they were uprooted. This photograph was taken in 1972. Courtesy of Shasta Historical Society.


1850 U.S. Census

Killed By Indians - The Sacramento Transcript newspaper of Sacramento, April 17, 1851

From The Interior - The Sacramento Daily Union newspaper of Sacramento, May 31, 1852

Lower Springs - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, March 12, 1853

Diggings About Lower Springs - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, April 2, 1853

The Lower Springs Road - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, May 7, 1853

The Ball At Lower Springs- The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, January 21, 1854

J.D. Dunlap & Co. - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, October 21, 1854

Lower Springs - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, December 23, 1854

A Serious Difficulty - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, January 13, 1855

Convention of Shasta County Miners Relative to the Chinese Question - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, January 20, 1855

Clear Creek Ditch - The Sacramento Daily Union newspaper of Sacramento, October 29, 1855

Clear Creek Ditch Finished! - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, November 24, 1855

Swasey’s Hotel advertisement - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, July 11, 1857

Slanderous - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, February 19, 1859

1860 U.S. Census

Supervisor - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, November 19, 1864

Quartz - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, November 26, 1864

A Sweet Discovery - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, March 4, 1865

Shot - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, March 18, 1865

Still Another Mill - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, September 9, 1865
Lower Springs - Union Co. - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, December 9, 1865

New Discovery - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, January 6, 1866
Struck It - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, February 10, 1866

Prospecting Mill - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, March 10, 1866
Buckeye Ranch - The Shasta Courier newspaper of Shasta, April 1, 1865

1866 California Voters Registration

1870 U.S. Census

1880 U.S. Census

California Journal of Mines and Geology, Volume 10 1890, page 632.
Mining District Near Redding’s Limits - Mineral Wealth Magazine, March 15, 1905

Benjamin Swasey Dies At Home In Oakland - The San Francisco Call newspaper of San Francisco, September 20, 1912

My Playhouse Was A Concord Coach, an anthology of newspaper clippings and documents relating to those who made California history during the years 1822-1888, by Mae Hélène Bacon Boggs. Published by Howell-North Press ©1942

Shasta County, California A History by Rosena Giles, published by Biobooks, ©1949.

Lower Springs by Mabel Frisbie - The Covered Wagon, 1957, published by Shasta Historical Society.

In the Shadow of the Mountain A Short History of Shasta County, California, by Edward Petersen ©1965

Gage-Carter Family Stories, Compiled for Lloyd D. Carter, edited by M. Walsh © October 1990 929.2 Gage/Carter in Shasta Historical Society library

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Mae Helene (Bacon) Boggs (1863-1963); A Pioneer, A Historian and A Preservationist

Mae Helene (Bacon) Boggs standing in the door way of one of the south-side ruins at Shasta in 1930. Courtesy of Shasta Historical Society.

Mae Helene Bacon was born to Charles Bacon and Sarah Elizabeth (Smith) Bacon on February 16, 1863, she was a native of Pike County, Missouri. Mae’s father eventually died and then in 1871, Sarah decided it was time for them to live with her brother in Shasta, California. Sarah and Mae boarded a boat which took them to St. Louis on the Mississippi River. At St. Louis they connected with a covered wagon which took them to California.

At the age of eight years old this journey became an adventure that Mae never forgot during her life time. Upon their arrival in Shasta, they immediately moved into the residence of Williamson Lyncoya Smith, an early California pioneer who arrived at Hangtown in Placer County on August 6, 1850. Two years after his arrival in California the pioneer ventured north to Shasta where he settled that year. Williamson was Sarah’s brother, and Sarah enrolled her daughter into the school at Shasta. This is where she continued her schooling and Mae Helene Bacon became a well-educated person.

Eventually, Mae’s uncle became the division superintendent of the California-Oregon Stage Company which operated in Shasta between 1853 and 1888. Then, Williamson Smith also purchased stock within the newly established McCormick-Saeltzer Company of Redding which incorporated as a business on May 7, 1877. Williamson became a founding owner of this general merchandise store. When Smith died of heart failure on May 31, 1902, it was Mae who obtained her uncle’s interest in the McCormick-Saeltzer Company, and she became a heavy stockholder inside the company, this move made her wealthy.

Pictured above: Williamson Lyncoya Smith (1830-1902). He is buried in the San Francisco Columbarium in San Francisco. Aside from being employed by the California-Oregon Stage Company in Shasta he also purchased stock in 1877 establishing the McCormick-Saeltzer Company of Redding. Mae Helene (Bacon) Boggs obtained his interest. Courtesy of Shasta Historical Society.

In 1900, Mae relocated from Shasta to San Francisco and the she met and married Angus Gordon Boggs on August 6, 1900, in that city. Angus Boggs was a prominent hard working and wealthy citizen of San Francisco. According to the 1910 U.S. Census of San Francisco, he was a promoter of mining stock in the area, and he kept supporting his wife until his death on January 20, 1920 at the age of sixty-two. Mae Helene (Bacon) Boggs inherited her husband’s estate and she became wealthier.

On Easter Day, April 20, 1930, Mae Helene (Bacon) Boggs of San Francisco returned to her childhood home in the town of Shasta with her friends Edna (Behrens) Eaton of Redding and her son the late Shasta County Superior Court Judge, Richard B. Eaton. At first glance she was heartbroken to see her home town in disrepair and in ruins. Shasta had been neglected over the years; it was formerly the county seat of Shasta County from March 6, 1851 to May 19, 1888 when the City of Redding became the county seat that day.

The first McCormick-Saeltzer Company store of Redding was located at the south-east corner of Butte & California Streets in Redding. Then in 1888, the owners moved into the building which is pictured above. The second building which was located between Yuba and Placer Streets in Redding.  This photo was taken circa 1920. Courtesy of Shasta Historical Society.

Boggs fondly remembered the town in its glory days and wanted to act fast to preserve its historic district. Her first priority was establishing a historic monument dedicated to the Knights of the Whip, the stage drivers that held the ribbons of the stage on the dusty roads in Shasta County and pay tribute to them. Then on, August 6, 1930, her vision became a reality as a monument was dedicated on the north side of Main Street in Shasta, and a duplicate on Bass Hill. She received additional help from the Native Sons of the Golden West and the newly created Shasta Historical Society which was established on January 18, 1930 in Redding. Together they played an important role in preserving Shasta’s historic district. 

Mae Helene (Bacon) Boggs began embracing a passion for historic preservation as she began restoring the former “Queen City of the North” for future generations to enjoy. She began purchasing land in Shasta which contained historic structures on the property. With the help of the above organizations Boggs began the restoration within Shasta’s historic district which included the south side ruins, during the late 1930s. In 1937, the California State Parks Commission assisted them in their effort to preserve the historic town of Shasta, and from this partnership the Shasta State Historic Park came into fruition.

Of course, much more work was underway in Shasta by the above groups and Boggs herself. It wasn’t until June 12, 1950 that Shasta Historic State Park was opened to the public in the historic town of Shasta. The State Park office in Shasta was located in the (old) brick courthouse which was built in 1862 on the north side of Main Street. The court house was restored and preserved as well as it became an intriguing museum with a vast collection of archives and special collections that they received upon donations of local relics related to Shasta’s history.

In 1942, Mae Helene (Bacon) Boggs published a book called; My Playhouse Was a Concord Coach: An Anthology of Newspaper Clippings and Documents Relating to Those Who Made California History During the Years of 1822-1888. This book was an extensive body of work documenting California’s rich and compelling history through newspaper articles and written material. Of course, the early history of Shasta County was not overlooked in it. In San Francisco, Boggs rallied for women’s rights and she became a well-known person in northern California.

The interior of the second McCormick-Saeltzer Company building of Redding, circa 1921. It was located between Yuba and Placer Streets in Redding. This building stood until January 13, 1940 when it was destroyed by fire.  Courtesy of Shasta Historical Society.

The name of the future dam site was heavily debated some of its early name proposals which were suggested by the Federal Government were the following: Coram Dam, Kennett Dam and McColl Dam. It was Mae Helene (Bacon) Boggs who named the dam- Shasta Dam, and she also named the adjacent lake, Shasta Lake. She named these important places after the town of Shasta. Shasta Dam was engineered by Frank T. Crowe the owner of Pacific Constructors Incorporated, and construction began in 1938 and it’s construction was completed in 1945. When the Bureau of Reclamation held their grand opening for Shasta Dam, they invited Mae to attend the ceremony.

L-R: Earl Lee Kelly, Director of the California State Department of Public Works, Mae Helene (Bacon) Boggs, and John C. Paige, Commissioner of the U.S. Department of Public Works. This photograph was taken on September 12, 1937. Courtesy of Shasta Historical Society.

At the present (Old) Shasta may be referred to as a ghost town by some people, yet it is a place of living history. Boggs had lived to see her dreams become a reality as she died at the age of one hundred years old on August 1, 1963 in San Francisco. She was a tremendous friend and benefactor of the Shasta State Historic Park. The Shasta State Historic Park now includes numerous historical land marks and a working museum which employs its own park rangers under the California State Park System.

Due to the efforts of the pioneers before us who made Shasta their home and succeeded in thriving businesses in that town, the town has reached a thriving population of 1,771 people over time, living amongst this state park. Shasta is accessible by Highway 299 West in Redding which intersects Main Street at Shasta and leaves Shasta heading towards Weaverville. From Weaverville it’s accessible from Highway 299 East and intersects Main Street at Shasta leaving Shasta towards Redding. It’s a short fun-filled family trip if you choose to go, and a visible reminder of the early gold rush days in Shasta County.

Today, there are numerous places named after this philanthropist and pioneering woman, Mae Helene (Bacon) Boggs. One of them is a government building at 2460 Breslauer Way in Redding called the Mae Helene (Bacon) Boggs Building. There are also two special collections of local historical relics named after her, most notably they are the Boggs Collection in the Redding Library,  and the Boggs Collection at the Shasta State Historic Park Museum.